The Life of Josiah Henson

The Life of Josiah Henson

The character Uncle Tom, from Harriet Beecher Stowe's bestselling novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," is based on the life of Josiah Henson (1789-1882). Born in Maryland, Henson escaped and fled to Dresden, Ontario, Canada in 1830. In 1841, a group of abolitionists, including Henson, created a community/school for runaway slaves called the British-American Institute for Fugitive Slaves. On the 200 acre parcel, Henson and his friends built a grist mill and a saw mill. After emancipation, many of the former slaves returned to the United States, though Henson remained in Canada until his death in 1882.

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